Kyle Kerr assumed the presidency of the Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) Jan. 1, succeeding Ara Balabanian.

Victoria real estate sales off to slow start

New figures show regional real estate sales are off to a slow start compared to the same period last year.

According to the Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB), net sales through the first two weeks of 2018 hit 115. Accounting for the fact that two weeks remain in the month, this figure is off the pace for January 2017, when the VREB recorded 478 sales.

New listings for 2018 are also off the 2017 pace. While the VREB recorded 753 new listings in January 2017, new listings for January 2018 stand at 276. Not surprisingly, active listings are down – 1,417 through the first two weeks of 2018 compared to 1,516 through all of January 2017.

Kyle Kerr, VREB’s president, said the figures reflect a number of trends. Some of these are seasonal, while others reflect institutional and structural changes.

Sales coming out of the holidays tend to be slower, he said. New mortgage qualification rules may have also had a psychological effect, said Kerr. While he does not think that the new rules will have a lasting effect, they may nonetheless force individuals to be more cautious — at least temporarily.

“Everybody is taking a step back,” he said.

Kerr also points out that sales in both November and December were strong, as buyers were trying to beat the new mortgage stress rules. Sales rose 12 per cent in November 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, while sales in December almost matched December sales in 2016, a record year for sales.

“A lot of people were rushing out [to buy] before the new rules,” said Kerr.

Perhaps most importantly, Victoria continues to lack inventory. “There is not a lot to purchase,” said Kerr.

The record-setting year of 2016 and another strong sales year in 2017 has led to a large influx of people into Victoria, but also tied up inventory. People who moved into the region during those years are not going to sell their properties a couple of years later, said Kerr.

Looking at the larger picture, the VREB reports that 8,944 properties sold in 2017 – down 15.8 per cent from the record-breaking year of 2016, when the VREB reported 10,622 sales.

Outgoing VREB president Ara Balabanian said 2016 showed signs of “a gradual return to a more balanced market” after the record year of 2016.

Kerr echoed this point in noting that the regional market is coming off two very busy years, which will be difficult to match.

This said, Victoria’s real estate market will remain strong thanks to the region’s diversified economy. In fact, Kerr expects sales to pick up through January and reach more normal levels.

No price figures through the first two weeks of January were available. Looking at the last available statistics from December 2017, the benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria core was $823,800 – up 9.3 per cent $753,900.

The benchmark value describes VREB calls “a notional home with common attributes of typical homes in a defined area.”

Just Posted

Sidney fundraiser helping kids fight diabetes

Nicola Politano organizing May 26 dance at the air cadet hall

‘ALR golf courses should return to farming,’ says ex-ALC chair Frank Leonard

Former mayor says Saanich could appeal Cedar Hill Golf Course application

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

Who is Vancouver Island’s greatest athlete ever?

We want to know, you get to choose in a 64-athlete tournament bracket

Saanich taking heat over process surrounding Haro Woods

District delays decision on the future of cycling in popular Saanich park

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

UPDATE: Blood found in missing man’s vehicle

Searchers are sticking to a high-priority area before expanding their search for Ben Kilmer

Central Vancouver Island man dies in single-vehicle collision

Pickup truck with three occupants went off the road near Port Alberni

Watch: Saved from highway harm, ducklings waddle into Swan Lake

Saanich Pound rescue, release ducklings in cute video

UPDATED: Almost 1,200 people allowed to return home in Kootenay-Boundary as floods dry up

Officials hope to have all 3,000 people back in their homes by Monday night

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

Most Read